Georgia takes Hawaii

Something good must come of our recent 2 weeks in Hawaii. It was pretty well disastrous from beginning to end, but we did manage some shots of Princess in her new red By Hand London, Georgia top. What? you didn’t know Georgia was a top? Read on dear sewists… details of Georgia as top at the end if you just want to bypass the holiday from hell!


First, the holiday…

More than a year ago an acquaintance begged us to allow his daughter and son-in-law to stay at our weekender in Sydney. They stayed in our house for 2 weeks and apparently had a ball, extended family in tow. In return for their stay we were to stay in their holiday house at Waimea Point, Hawaii – we made an 8 day booking for their house in April 2015.

The airfares were booked and paid, including those booked and paid for by our kid’s ‘friends’ – BF and GF we’ll call them!

You can probably anticipate what happened can’t you?… but we didn’t…

Having been assured he would contact us in January ’16, I made contact to reconfirm the reservation early December, but heard nothing back. After I made contact again, the Waimea guy asked how many people in our group – strange because that had been established when we booked 9 months prior. Then the bomb was dropped, there had been a booking placed over ours and “oh well, so sorry, try another time”.

Maaaate, we’ve booked and paid for flights, my Mr has taken leave and the BF/GF have also made all their travel arrangements. We decided to go ahead and started looking for Oahu accommodation for 6 adults ASAP.

Lesson #1 – Don’t do swapsies

At Sydney airport we were greeted with, “yes, you have flights but where is your US visa waiver?”.  Now, I specifically recall asking our travel agent about visas to the USA and she assured me none were needed. Perhaps, but it seems you cannot enter without the ‘waiver’. We tapped away maniacally on our devices to access the US govt. website to obtain the online waivers we needed, alas, it was down for maintenance and came back online 20min after our flight closed! So Princess’ 18 yo BF (whose daddy is a pilot and knows stuff about visas) travelled to Hawaii alone to meet up with #1 son’s GF who had taken an earlier flight and was blissfully encased in steel 40,000 feet in the air, unaware the rest of us would not be meeting her. Our little troupe put the airport outing down to ‘dress rehearsal’ and thank Hawaiian Airlines who rebooked us the next day with no penalties. Unlike Flight Centre who wanted to charge us $200 per person to rebook the flights!!

Lesson #2 Don’t book flights with your friend’s daughter who has just started her 1st FT job as a travel agent – you will not be able to complain lest she lose her new job.

The first 5 days were spent on Hawaii Isl. (Big Isl.) because – active volcanoes and also #1 son’s GF is a geologist and crazy about tectonic plates and stuff – this part was fascinating. If you’re tempted to Hawaii, go here. The volcano was the most active it had been in 4 years and the view from our helicopter was amaaazing, the helicopter ride is a must, sleep on the beach if you have to! Food in Hawaii is hellishly expensive, it makes Ireland look like a bargain and the AUD was appallingly low at 0.65 to the USD. The lowest I can ever recall. This holiday was going to hurt!

The title pic from my last post was taken standing in the caldera of an adjacent extinct volcano, below is the active caldera of Kilauea.

caldera of Kilauea volcano

What about this night view from the visitor centre at Volcanoes National Park?


So after 5, ahem, I mean 4 days on Hawaii Island, off we toddled to Oahu Island.

The Oahu house was booked last minute, due to aforementioned Waimea Point gazumping debacle (pox on the international surfing competition). As we drove west from Honolulu airport we noted Hawaii didn’t look like the tourist mecca you see in the brochures. Shops barricaded by roller doors, homeless folks living in tents on the beach, dusty dogs chained to trees, front yards (garden would be a poor descriptor!) full of rubbish, dumped cars, tyres and life’s discarded accoutrement. It just didn’t present as ‘Hawaiian paradise’ and yet we were destined to spend 8 nights here.

Debi met us at the house in Waianae and my heart sunk when I saw the house. Just generally crappy, decorated in ‘original’ 1950s Hawaiian beach style with ‘original’ 1950s fake plants now faded to a queasy blue colour. We had paid what in Australia would be considered ‘top dollar’ for this house, there was no going back. Our little troupe were determined to make a silk holiday out of a sow’s ear though, so for kicks we watched Elvis in Blue Hawaii!! #1 son couldn’t get past Elvis putting a lady over his knee and smacking her on the bottom for a misdemeanour – ahh, the good ole days!


Hubby and I walked 1 minute up the beach and noted the surf was way too rough to swim, a fully loaded bullet cartridge stuck in the sand and a ‘humpy’ where a homeless man had been/would be sleeping for the night. I screamed as we tripped over a pair of ladies tights full of sand half buried – too life like, too much CSI?

The house was situated on the main highway (close to transport), we figured the incessant traffic noise would be masked by the sound of crashing waves if we left our beach facing doors open at night. That worked a treat until 5.30am when the high pressure watering system was activated and cycled the perimeter of the house for about an hour, returning to our bedroom at 6.30am, just in time to wake us again! This is supposed to be a holiday for god’s sake. Who sets a watering system for 5.30am in a holiday house; its still dark outside! And yet, the watering system couldn’t drown out the sound of the traffic and hooting horns, ambulances and screaming motorcycles which reached a crescendo at 6.30am when we gave up on sleep – every. bloody. day.

Next, the toilet broke and wouldn’t flush, we resorted to buckets of water. The bathroom sink didn’t drain and the dishwasher wouldn’t start. A handyman came to fix the toilet remarking “this house is old”! No shit Sherlock! We can do old, we can’t do decrepit!

A broken bathroom wouldn’t have been such a problem if there were 4 bathrooms as advertised, we struggled to find the missing 2 bathrooms and wondered if they’d included the beach since clearly some may consider the beach a bathroom!

Day 2 we drove to a nearby beach only to be told by the lifeguard that it would be unwise to swim there – just as we figured. At the next beach, the lifeguard asked where we were parked? We pointed to a carpark near some tents and BBQ’s manned by local fellas turning sausages. “Don’t park your car down there, you do know this area is a meth ghetto? right?”.

Meth Ghetto? Firstly, is that a thing? and secondly, where was that in the house description? All the reviews were annoyingly chipper about the area? Then it dawned on us that the reviews cannot have been written in an honest manner – to say the least.

Lesson #3 – Don’t forget to Google the area in which you intend to holiday

AOL travel in reviewing the area mentioned its very high crime rate, stating “Waianae is an area to avoid in Honolulu”, wish I’d seen that before booking. I’ve asked the owner for compensation for the lack of 2 bathrooms, since thats tangible and one can hardly say “we don’t enjoy holidaying in an Hawaiian meth ghetto or your manky house”, that would sound snobbish don’t you think?! The ‘owner’ (Laura) has promised a partial refund “pending review” and I don’t think Laura is talking about her reviewing our situation. I do think Laura is referring to my ‘review’ on Airbnb. This reeks of bribery doesn’t it?! Ever wondered why reviews are not reflective of reality? Oh and Laura is an agent who has a number of houses on Airbnb, its her business.

The description of the Waianae house has now been amended to 2 bathrooms on Airbnb but I note the main picture is still not one of the house we actually stayed in!!

We were all so pleased to jump on that plane home, no more traffic noise, no more 5.30am wake up sprinklers, no more sipping a Hawaiian sunset wine from plastic wine glasses. And only 3 sleeps before we were to pack up our home in Sydney and move interstate!! Oh, almost forgot our take away memory – flea bites all over our ankles and feet, GF caught the little Wainanae house pets in the act! Happy Days!


Back to Princess’ BHL Georgia as top.

I love, love, love this pattern. Once you’ve nailed the fit its so tweak-able!


To make this top omit the centre back panel and extend the side front panels in a straight line to create a mitred tie – longer for a more impressive bow (about 1m). I’d suggest using beefier fabric than this cotton. If you can’t find beefier fabric then it would be wise to interline the bust cups I think. One could add a sweet ruffle to the flappy back panel, but that was verboten by Princess!


V 2.0 –  tighten the upper edge with either more darting to the princess line or perhaps easing it a little, though its important to avoid the gathered look of this stretch denim version. The upper edge did contain a stay stitched twill tape but it may have been accidentally cut off when I trimmed the seam allowance – derrr! The wrinkles were not present before removing the bra straps from her strapless convertible büstenholter. Next version – insert skyhooks!!


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  1. Oh no….I laughed, although maybe it’s a bit fresh for you to do so. Had it been me I probably would have indebted myself (or indentured) myself for seven years in order to escape that house!! The pictures are lovely though, as is Princess, and at least you saw volcanoes! I’m glad you included the last line about the bra as I always wonder how one wears those strappy, open-backed things. I can never seem to find a strapless that offers enough support. Best wishes with settling into your new, temporary home.

  2. Omg! That’s has to be the worst holiday from hell story I’ve ever read! BUT that has to be the best version of the Georgia ever – hacked or not hacked!!
    I think all the Girls from BHL will be wearing them this summer – have you added it to their FB page – I’m sure they’d love to see it! Wonder if a 40 something lady could get away with wearing it…..??? 😀

  3. Great Pics!
    Colin xxxx

  4. What a horrible experience. But it did make a very good blog post. Mrs Mole had one like it from Florida – I left my horror story on her page. The top however is sensational and looks so beautiful. Very nice indeed, and well worth making again.

    • Thanks Kate, yes, this one is a definite repeater! But doesn’t red always look so fresh?! I must check out your Florida story, people seem to prefer to tell their good stories about holidays. Makes me feel like an ungrateful old sourpuss!

  5. Lovely top! Hideous experience!

  6. Like Stephanie, I laughed, not due to Schadenfreude but because I was reminded of a trailer I saw in the cinema where a family goes on what looks like a hell-holiday then they comes across a lagoon. They jump in for a stress-busting swim only to find syringes and condoms floating about…

    Not fleas too: I felt quite sick by then. Did the kids at least have fun? Are BF/GF’s parents suing you for trauma?!

    Georgia and the Princess look gorgeous. I love the fabric, particularly the texture. How I miss summer and colourful dresses.

    Hopefully your move will seem relatively relaxing after the ‘holiday’!

    • Currently all kids are in therapy for PTSD! I tell them I’m going to host a travel show – “where not to holiday – we go there so you don’t need to!” There are some stunningly beautiful parts of Oahu, in fact everywhere we visited was more beautiful than Waianae! Yes, the kids had a ball, probably because they weren’t hit in the hip pocket for sub standard everything! We all enjoyed Iolani Palace and highly recommend the Polynesian Cultural Centre for a great family day out. But then we have NZ just over the ‘pond’ and the 2 polynesian cultures are incredibly similar. Nearly unpacked – phew!

  7. How absolutely awful. I had a really bad experience in England in a hotel which was completely filthy, where the breakfast was served by dirty people in tracky dacs and mocassins . I lost my appetite and cut short my stay . When I read the reviews for this hotel it was declared by many to be the worst hotel many had stayed at . Oh well I think I am almost over the trauma ! Lovely top . Funny read

    • Crappy hotels are the worst aren’t they? I always regret not investigating accommodation more fully! Ever watched Akex Polizzi’s The Hotel Inspector? Fantastic. Find myself talking to her “and what about that dusty ‘collectibles’ shelf Alex?”.

  8. Ugh, how unlucky can you get? So sorry you didn’t get the holiday you planned. The top is gorgeous though, the colour is stunning!

  9. What an absolute nightmare! The very worse hotel we stayed in (Italy) ended up being one of our best ever holidays. Things were so awful, we found ourselves in fits of laughter. Only 20 years old at the time – my reaction would be totally different now, that’s for sure.
    Take heart that you have amused us all that didn’t have to endure it, with a very funny post.

    • So glad it made you chuckle. I have to say these things are less tolerable as we get older but more than once I had tears streaming down my face as the kids and I laughed at the horror holiday. They’ll certainly not forget Hawaii in a hurry!

  10. That red top is perfect for Hawaii! I love the back. I went to Hawaii las year and it is an amazing place. The volcano in Big Island is something you can’t forget.

  11. mylanaieyeview 18/02/2016 — 11:25 am

    I live on Oahu- and I cringed when I saw the word Waianae. I can only imagine. Very sorry that mistake was made, as you really could have been staying in paradise. We hear stories like yours more often than desired. Yes, Big island is my favorite too. But Oahu is beautiful too in the right places and I’m glad you got some nice activities in. May I please suggest a local agency that won’t stear you wrong – Hawaii Aloha Travel. I’ve worked for them in the past.

    • Thanks so much for the recommendation. I’ll definitely be contacting Hawaii Aloha Travel should I visit in future! Such a pretty place everywhere other than where we stayed, but we live and learn. I did find a wonderful Aloha fabric place and the fella was so helpful – I may have bought some yardage! Thanks for dropping by.

  12. What a disaster of a holiday – but at least it gives you some funny stories! I hope Laura gives you that refund. I guess you can equally threaten to make your review even worse (you could exaggerate negatively?). I had a lot of disaster holidays with my family when I was a child (often involving collapsing tents and big storms, or accommodation accidentally booked in red light districts) and they were terrific in terms of “what did you do in your holidays” creative writing exercises at school but I would hate to have to go through those experiences again!

    Anyway, on the sewing side, that top is gorgeous on your stunning princess – beautiful colour and style on her!

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